The Labouchere Betting System

Most gambling fans will be familiar with systems like Martingale, D’Alembert or Fibonacci, as they are the most popular for beating roulette.

However, the Labouchere system, also known as the cancellation method, is one of the most widely used betting methods by professional players around the world. 

After Whom Is This Theory Named?

This strategy owes its name to Henry Labouchere, a British politician who has gone down in history for his controversial decisions in the British Parliament.

However, this wealthy aristocrat was an ambitious gambler, whose specialty was roulette or roulette.

After losing large amounts of money in gambling establishments in the 19th century, Labouchere developed a system to recover all that lost money through progressive betting.

Applying the Labouchere Betting System

The application of the Labouchere betting system (also called the cancellation system or the split martingale system) will allow the player to increase the chances of winning money.

Of course, this is only true as long as you apply it correctly. It should be noted that roulette is a game governed purely by chance. So the application of a betting system will not guarantee profit.

You can also use this method for other games, for example, to win at Blackjack.

The Labouchere system is a favorite among players around the world due to how simple and easy it is to apply. Both experienced players and novice players can apply it without any complications. 

Whenever a player wins more times than they lose, they will cross off all the numbers on the list, and as a result, they will have won their initial goal for the session.

What Proponents Recommend?

Proponents of the Labouchere system recommend using single bets, as they offer the best odds; the logic is that the player bets enough to recoup all his losses with a profit, and that these 50/50 bets will win sooner or later.

Gamblers tend to face their bets in different ways, whether it is sports betting or casino games.

Some resort to pure and hard luck for their plays, while others use different strategies, depending on the type of game they bet on.

In the case of roulette players, most of those who use these strategies bet on the so-called equal or outside markets.

50% Chance of Winning

These are those that offer a 50% chance of winning, such as red or black, odd or even, foul or pass, etc. But these strategies can also be carried out in games like blackjack or in sports betting that have a similar probability of success.

This system also adapts to all odds since you can previously establish your probability of success, the series and the stakes.

In the face of a bad run, the bets will increase progressively, so you must be careful when dividing your bankroll, choosing your series and determining your target profit.

Breaking Down the Labouchere Method

The big difference between the Labouchere betting system and other gambling strategies is that in this system, you have to program in advance how much you want to win.

In other words, whether you are talking about dollars or whether you are used to working with units, the first thing to decide is how much you expect to pocket. 

Must Set a Goal

The player must set a goal of real money that he or she wants to win, and divide that amount into smaller ones, which he or she will write down.

The player then adds the amounts to the far left and right to determine their first bet. 

Once that figure is clear, the next thing to do is to establish a series with the number of dollars or units that you will bet on each play.

Let’s Divide

The Labouchere method is about dividing the amount that you want to achieve between the number of plays in such a way that it is more or less balanced. 

Lastly, you will bet the sum of the first and last numbers of the series. If you win, you delete them from the sequence. However, if you lose, you have to add the sum to the end of the series, to use it again.

An Example of the Labouchere Method

The best way to understand how the Labouchere method works is through an example.

The following sequence of plays expects an outcome of a win of $20 in total with roulette bets.

To reach that figure, you will bet as follows: 1 – 2 – 4 – 1 – 3 – 3 – 2 – 4 (total = 20).

  • First move: 1 – 2 – 4 – 1 – 3 – 3 – 2 – 4. Bet 1 + 4 = 5. Result: winning (total: +5).
  • Second move: 2 – 4 – 1 – 3 – 3 – 2. Bet 2 + 2 = 4. Result: loser (total: +1).
  • Third move: 2 – 4 – 1 – 3 – 3 – 2 – 4. Bet 2 + 4 = 6. Result: loser (total: -5).
  • Fourth move: 2 – 4 – 1 – 3 – 3 – 2 – 4 – 6. Bet 2 + 6 = 8. Result: winning (total: +3).
  • Fifth move: 4 – 1 – 3 – 3 – 2 – 4. Bet 4 + 4 = 8. Result: winner (total: +11).
  • Sixth move: 1 – 3 – 3 – 2 – 4. Bet 1 + 4 = 5. Result: loser (total: +6).

With this example of six plays in which you win three times and lose another three, there is a profit of $6. That’s a good start toward achieving the goal of $20 that was set at the beginning.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Labouchere Method

Betting following a game strategy is not synonymous with winning at games of chance. Luck has a lot to say and you can never be sure that we will make a profit.

However, by using the Labouchere method, it will be clear that, in the event of losing streaks, you will limit our losses.

This is because, unlike more aggressive methods like the Martingale, where the amount played is multiplied each time, you don’t risk as much money with the Labouchere strategy.

Negative-winnings Situation

Therefore, it will be difficult for you to stay in a negative-winnings situation unless you either play high amounts or the losing streak is excessively long.

In this case, it could be the case that the numbers of your game sequence. Per the example above, these numbers were low (1 – 2 – 4 – 1 – 3 – 3 – 2 – 4) and became high over time, due to continuous losses (8 – 12 – 11 – 18 – 26 – 38). 

In that case, you can divide that sequence in two, so that they are more affordable for the bank, and continue playing.

Although as with all systems, it’s important to never lose your head and always take into account that you should only bet the amount of money that you are willing to lose. In gambling, the odds are not always as they appear, and can often fluctuate.

A Safe Bet in Roulette

Sometimes, even a safe bet on red/black in roulette can turn negative as players accumulate losses on each bet. 

In addition, you can convert into large bets if the player goes on a losing streak. The stakes are higher for gamblers with higher session goals.

It isn’t uncommon for Labouchere system followers to max out before they complete their roster.

Applying Labouchere to Sports Betting

In order to use the Labouchere system in sports betting, you have to first establish what the series of numbers is going to be and how long it will be.

To do this, you decide how much you want to win at the end of the series, for example, 100 units. 

Next, calculate how long it can take us to reach that target profit. This will depend on the odds you play and the series.

For example, if you are going to bet on odds that are around +100, your probability of success could be 40%. Although theoretically, it would be 50% or higher, it is always better to underestimate your capacity.

Quick Breakdown of Using the Labouchere System

Although there is a lot of information regarding the nuances of the Labouchere strategy, implementing it is relatively easy. There are only a few steps to it:

  • Write a sequence of numbers that can include any numbers if they’re easy to remember
  • When placing a bet, it must equal the total of first and last numbers of the series 
  • When the betting round begins, the player adds the extreme numbers of the sequence. The result is the amount that should be bet on that spin of the roulette wheel. 
  • If the bet wins, the first and last numbers are deleted, and the next bet follows the same pattern as before. 
  • If the bet wins again, the series is dead and it’s time to draw up a new one. 
  • If the bet loses, that bet is placed at the end of the number sequence.

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Labouchere System FAQs

No, the method and strategy can be applied to roulette, blackjack and craps.

Although it was originally designed for roulette, the Labouchere system can be modified to be used when placing wagers on sports.

The two systems offer different approaches to predicting the odds of winning during betting or gambling. Neither is better than the other, and the recommendation is that bettors test all of the different options to see which one suits them best.

Using the Labouchere system, a win will remove two figures from the row of numbers and a loss will add one figure to the end of the row. Based on this principle, you mathematically only have to win more than 33% of your bets in order to make this system profitable.

Getting started with the Labouchere system takes time, but once the pattern is in place, it can be used effectively.